As expected, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers parted ways with three players Friday, releasing quarterback Brian Griese, linebacker Jeff Gooch and guard Matt Stinchcomb.

Griese, who turns 31 this month, was scheduled to receive a $2.6 million roster bonus, which would have given him a salary cap value of $7.083 million in 2006.

The Bucs avoided paying Griese that roster bonus and freed up approximately $4.5 million by parting ways with the veteran signal caller.

Griese started 72 of the 75 games he’s played in the NFL since entering the league with the Denver Broncos in 1998. He’s completed 63.1 percent of his career passes and thrown for 16,344 yards and tossed 103 touchdowns and 78 interceptions.

During his two seasons with the Bucs, Griese has completed 67 percent of his passes and thrown for 3,768 yards while tossing 27 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.

Griese helped get the Bucs off to a 5-1 start in 2005 by completing 64.4 percent of his passes for 1,136 yards and tossing seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. However, Griese’s 2005 campaign was cut short when he tore ligaments in his left knee in a Week 6 game vs. the Miami Dolphins.

Tampa Bay will continue to discuss the possibility of keeping Griese in a Bucs uniform in 2006, but the team already has Chris Simms, who signed a one-year, $2.1 million contract earlier this offseason, Tim Rattay, Luke McCown and Jared Allen under contract for next season.

“We’re scheduled to talk with Tampa Bay tomorrow,” Griese, agent, Ralph Cindrich said on Friday. “It’s also quite possible we’ll be talking with other teams.”

The Bucs created an additional $2.8 million by releasing Gooch and Stinchcomb, giving the team a total cap savings of $7.3 million.

Tampa Bay could use some of that money to re-sign fullback Mike Alstott and ink other teams’ free agents to contracts when the free agent signing period begins at 12:01 a.m. ET on Saturday.

If you liked this story, be sure to get the inside scoop and more detailed information on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offseason plans regarding roster changes, free agency and the NFL Draft with a Pewter Insider premium subscription. uccaneers merchandise in the world.

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